JCB is to axe at least 500 jobs at its factories across the UK.

The company says the losses are a result of a serious economic downturn in the global construction sector.

The credit crisis has seen demand slump for JCB kit and rising raw material costs have put a greater squeeze on margins.

Although the agricultural industry remains buoyant, the Staffordshire firm will still lose some employees from its Landpower division which builds loaders and Fastrac high-speed tractors for farming.